Queen Elizabeth spiced up her annual Christmas message with the addition of a gilded Erard grand piano just chilling in the background like an extra in Beauty and the Beast and, let me tell you, nothing has thrilled me more this holiday season. This is the best thing that has happened to me, personally, since last week when Queen of America Michelle Obama wore thigh-high gold Balenciaga boots and saved democracy. Over across the pond where democracy is still a concept they’re taking under advisement, Queen Elizabeth gave the world the most luxurious weird flex of all, sitting foreground to what I can only assume is one of Elton John’s more chill housewarming gifts.
The piano was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1856, is decorated with oil-painted scenes, and looks, undeniably, like it would spit on you if it could. Some who watched the Queen’s message, which touched on Brexit and austerity, though that the piano struck a false note.
Many took issue with a queen, sitting in her palace in her kingdom, having a piano that would prompt Midas to exclaim, “Oh, girl, this is too much.” I’m not really sure what people expected this person whose job it is to wear bejeweled crowns and use a sword to knight people and wave in a special manner to do in the interior design department. Like, would you want to watch a holiday message from the Queen with a Casio keyboard chilling in the back like she’s a college student vlogging from her childhood bedroom? No, you would not. Was the Queen supposed to bring a selfie-stick into a coat closet to talk about austerity while wearing pearls and being descended from either Margot Robbie or Saoirse Ronan in that new movie I haven’t seen? Should the Queen pretend she doesn’t have a gold piano and also an off-shore account where her riches are shielded from tax laws and scrutiny? Literally every room at Buckingham Palace has a gilded instrument or the Ark of the Covenant or something. That’s their whole deal. We need to let Barlett be Barlett! And by that I mean, let the Elizabeth show off her 200-year-old fancy drag queen piano if she wants to.
Although I am not really a royal-watcher, I am a fan of Doing the Most. And so, I would like to announce my full and unequivocal support of The Gold Piano. This is a piano that looks like its name is Beyoncé. And not a name it gave itself; Beyoncé is the piano’s birth name. This is a piano that looks like it refuses to be played unless you are Alicia Keys and/or Prince. Or, I guess, Mozart, maybe. It just slams shut if you even press your fingers on its service without a proper pedigree. This, and the credenza played by Audra McDonald in the live action Beauty and the Beast are the only pieces of furniture allowed to wish me a happy and austere holiday. This Ikea dresser better not try speak to me today. I am not having it!
Now, you may ask, isn’t this sort of enthusiasm for an flashy display of wealth built on monarchal rule a controversially position? No. A controversial position is that Olivia Colman is the lead in The Favourite. (It is Emma Stone, my darlings.) Wanting nothing but health, generational wealth, and prosperity for The Gold Piano that stole the show from an actual Queen is just embracing the drama of it all. As someone who lives in America and has a casual relationship with reality, I am not even 100 percent sure that the Queen is not just a fictional character like Lady Elaine Fairchilde or Kathie Lee Gifford. Is this the Queen to which I am referring when I say “Yas Queen”? Possibly! Is this a Drag Race holiday special on the set of The Crown? Is Claire Foy giving the performance of her life in front of this piano from a Grimm’s Fairy Tale? Sure! I’d believe it.
I don’t ever want to see a photo of a royal in which a truly audacious instrument is not hanging out in the background like a leaden metaphor. I want lil baby Prince George to send me a message on Cameo whilst wearing Airpods made of actual sapphires. I just happen to believe if you’re going to do royalty, do it all the way! You didn’t see Queen Ramonda in Black Panther pretending she wasn’t worth more than your life. No, she wore an elaborate headdress and was played by the actual Angela Bassett, who is the Gold Piano in human form. This all tracks.
This is the kind of life that Donald Trump wishes he was living. Everything in his house is gold and yet he literally could never make this piano work. It’s not about the gold; it’s about the swagger. Queen Elizabeth has that Gold Piano Energy. Donald Trump has that Rusty Harmonica at a Yard Sale Energy.
I cannot wait until Meghan Markle sits at that piano and plays American Jazz and then she looks directly at the camera and mouths “And what bish!” That’s the kind of chaotic extraness the Gold Piano is manifesting and it gives me life.
What I’m saying is that Gold Piano is me: very old, very fancy, very much pulling focus from an actual queen, also probably out of tune but, really, how dare you point it out?